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Just as Apple signs deal with China Mobile, smartphone growth slows in China

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Just as Apple signs deal with China Mobile, smartphone growth slows in China
Apple has finally inked its long awaited deal with the world's largest carrier, China Mobile. This is obviously a big plus for the Cupertino based company. Analysts expect Apple to sell anywhere from 15 million to 30 million iPhones to China Mobile customers in the year ahead. But there is some irony here. While Apple does now have a larger number of potential iPhone buyers in the country, fresh data seems to indicate that smartphone purchasers are on the decline in China.

According to Wedge Partners, during the third quarter, China tallied 17 million to 18 million new smartphone users per month. That figure has dropped in the fourth quarter to 12.5 million to 13 million. That is a 26% to 28% sequential decline. Additionally, Wedge Partners believes that smartphone sell-through declined from a rate of 26 million to 30 million per month in August/September to 20 million in October and 18 to 19 million in November. Even after an expected bounce in December, sell-through numbers will decline 25% quarter to quarter.

Apple is the fifth most popular smartphone manufacturer in the country, but prior to the China Mobile deal, the iPhone was losing share in the country. The Apple iPhone 5s was the second most popular handset in China, but has dropped to number three. The Apple iPhone 5c is not found anywhere in the top 20. Xiaomi is the big name on the list with three of the top five handsets in China. The powerful Xiaomi Mi-3 is second and the surging OEM has two other models among the top five. Will the deal with China Mobile shake up this list? That is something we will check back on soon.

source: Barrons via AppleInsider

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